Police officers permitted to wear turbans

Police officers can now officially wear turbans, skull caps and other

forms of religious or ethnic headwear on duty. RPS, the national police

board, has looked at the issue with DO, the ombudsman for ethnic

discrimination, and taken the decision as part of a new diversity policy.

However, the RPS is nevertheless setting certain conditions for the

wearing of head dresses.

One of the reasons for the new policy is that the police don’t want to

exclude any sections of society from joining the force. DO studied the

RPS’s diversity policy and found it to be inadequate. There was a lack

of guidelines on how the police should work to prevent and combat

discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity or religious beliefs.

But the RPS is still maintaining some form of control on the issue of

clothing. Skull caps, turbans and other forms of head dress must have an

“appropriate form and colour” in relation to the uniform. It’s left to

individual officers to suggest what they think is appropriate. An

agreement is then reached with the employer on how the head dress should


The head dress should not deviate from health and safety regulations


The ombudsman for ethnic discrimination, Katri Linna, said in a press

release that a police officer in a religious head dress sent an

important message.